Aubade to My Dead Father

by Odukoya Adeniyi

On some night, your voice is a lone bird
forging through the neck of a redundant clock,
The wind that billows through this boulevard of threnody
is the gaze of a city seeking god’s face.
On some night, your eyes are naked clouds
diving through the parched faces of tombs,
searching for light beneath the souls of sleepless ghosts.
On some night, your father’s voice is the rib of memory
clutched to the broken song of a weeping nest.
While the silence of loss bathe your lips
—you pick up your body the way
a carcass picks up the earth with its smell & ruins.
You spread the darkness that plunges your feet into
the street — chasing back a flower that is left in a chariot
of timelessness.
Now, all you do is gather the dust of his absence
in your mouth — the only place you become when the word “father”
falls out of your friend’s mouth is a cathedral of wounds.
No one understands resurrection until death plants
departure in the lungs of a man.       
You keep your prayers in the body of a bird since your uncle
says that ghosts do not walk, they fly, you hope your prayers
touch his body, you hope they tear him apart into stars blinking
without lights.
The world within is darker than the world
For you carry the pale darkness of a family’s
shattered dream,
For you carry the grieving darkness
of your mother’s unheard words,
For you are the surviving word
of your father’s last breath.


Odukoya Adeniyi is an undergraduate studying English and Education at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. He is a Nigerian poet with works forthcoming/published on Kalahari Review, Praxis Magazine, and Odd Magazine. He was a finalist at the Okigbo Poetry Competition ’18, a shortlist at the PIN Food Poetry Competition 2018, a shortlist at the PIN Prose Poetry 2019, and his poem “Confession” was longlisted for the PIN Student Poetry Prize 2019. Follow him on Twitter @adeniyi_odukoya.

Image: Photography by Zack Jarosz.